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The Call Blog: Council To Unveil Budget, Call For More Cops And Free School Lunches

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Have something to tell us at The Call? Drop us a line at thecall@ny1.com and we'll post it to our blog.



I agree with many viewers who called in and said that the quality of the food served at schools needs to increase and be nutritious. If that happens, I believe that lunches should be free for everyone, regardless of their family income. As for increasing the number of cops, if crime is decreasing, there is no need to hire more. As Police Commissioner Bratton said earlier this month, the NYPD's overtime budget allows the department to police as if they had more officers, despite the drop of personnel in the last decade.

Your thoughts and comments are posted below.



Two months after Mayor de Blasio outlined his proposed $74 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the City Council is set to unveil its financial plan tomorrow. Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito both promised to end the "budget dance" while they negotiate. A final budget is due at the end of June.

The Council's proposed budget will reportedly call for an additional $200 million to hire 1,000 new police officers. NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said last month he was "very concerned" about the current staffing level of 35,000, which is 6,000 fewer than in 2001. But Mayor de Blasio said recently he felt the NYPD is at a "capable size right now."

Another aspect of the Council's budget will reportedly include a universal school lunch program for all kids, regardless of how much money their families make. Supporters say the goal is to remove the stigma associated with free lunches. The Council is asking for $24 million to fund the program, which de Blasio did not include in his preliminary budget. More than half a million students currently get free lunch. What do you say?

Should every public school student get a free lunch, regardless of their family income? Does New York City need an additional 1,000 police officers on the streets? How would you spend $74 billion tax dollars to improve the City? Are there areas of wasteful government spending that you've encountered?

Send your thoughts using the link above.



There is no stigma to free lunches, the stigma was created by the socialist politicians to feed all. They can fix the roads, housing projects, and provide a better public education. They should quit playing the race card. Do they realize how much of a burden illegal immigration is putting on tax payers? Or are they turning the blind eye and pandering?

Roscoe
Park Hill



As the saying goes, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." Somebody always pays. Re the number of police, have there been 6,000 more crimes because there are 6,000 fewer police? No! Re government waste, most government activity is a waste. What would I do with $74 billion? I'd give it back to the taxpayers to whom it rightfully belongs.

Joe
Port Richmond



Just because they offer free lunch to everyone doesn't mean everyone will take up the offer. If you want more kids to eat school lunch, then make it taste good and appealing to look at (to a kid healthy and blah is just blah). If you want kids to stay in the school cafeteria (by middle school kids have the option to go out), then make it a fun environment. My kids were in elementary school close to Chinatown, if they would have brought in a chef who could cook Chinese there would have been plenty of vegetables and based on my experience with kids at Chinese restaurants they would eat it up. They sell roasted chickens in Costco for $4.99 (real chickens that are freshly made and tasty) that could feed as many as eight kids. There would seem to be many ways to improve the offerings to make the food attractive and still do it on a budget. I'm sure there is some panel of experts that have been brought in to look at school food but there needs to be out of the box thinking and changing mindset to institute changes that will have an impact. Are there statistics on how many kids actually eat the school lunch food and how much is thrown away? How much does the city currently pay to feed one child lunch (all costs including personnel, food, delivery, storage, etc.)?

Ted
Lower East Side



I love the idea of eliminating the distraction of hunger via free lunches for all, but I would want the city to focus on the content & quality of those lunches. I would like to see LOCAL hormone-free milk (if not local organic milk) and meats; quality, fresh salad bars (again, local & organic would be excellent) should be in every school, with maybe a daily soup for kids who do not want the main course that is offered. That said, there is already a lot of waste in our cafeterias, and I would hate to see that get worse. Someone has to re-think the current policy that requires kids who come up for lunch to take certain things, even if they don't want them. (Some schools have thought to set up a table just past the lunch line for kids to put back the apple or banana they didn't want so that someone else can take it; otherwise lots of uneaten food goes in the composting or trash bins.)

Anni
Manhattan



All students should get a free lunch because without the proper nutrition the student can't learn very well and that might be the only meal the student gets due to the family circumstances, some big families can't afford to buy enough food after the bills are paid the farm bill needs to be reinstated so the low income families can have more food stamp money.The more cops the city have the better crimes are happening everyday i would spend the 74 million on affordable housing union contracts after school programs and UPK


Herman
Upper West Side



Maybe the Mayor & City Council should let the Police do their job. As for free lunch for all, should we spoon feed other people's kids as well? The City Council should spend this "excess" money feeding and housing the thousands of homeless who are living in the streets.

Kate
Midtown East



Every proposal sounds absolutely ridiculous. Where's the money coming from? Nice idealistic ideas but unattainable and a waste of effort.

Tony



The police department has sufficient officers in the face of declining crime. The agency that needs additional hiring is the Department of Correction. 8 percent of correction officers work over 56 hours a week with forced overtime and that is against the DOC's own policy. The Board of Correction 's budget should be increased to investigate misbehavior of officers who rely on excessive force to control imprisoned people on Rikers Island. Funds should be4 allocated to find alternatives to incarceration such as mental health courts.

Allan



I absolutely agree that all children no matter of income status should receive a free lunch. Why bc there are plenty of families that do not qualify due to income but, have so many monthly bills that they can barley buy food for their own home. providing a free lunch will guarantee a child will have 1 healthy meal a day, it also give that child something to look forward to. Parents shouldn't be qualified or unqualified by there gross but there monthly bills!

Tonya
Harlem



As both a teacher and a mother, I assure you that universal school lunch is not necessary. I see my students reject the lunch that is provided for them. They prefer to eat the chips and cookies that their families have sent with them to school. The school Lunch provided has improved over he years, but the kids still prefer junk food from the corner store. As a middle class mom, I would never want my child to eat school lunch. I prefer organic food with a variety of food that I KNOW my child with actually eat. Gray meat, warm chocolate milk and white tomato slices are not viable options. The school lunches need an overhaul. I fear that a universal lunch program will result in so much waste. The garbage bins after a lunch period could feed a shelter. Make food that kids will eat and parents want their kids to eat!

Lisa
Carroll Gardens



If the free lunches are comprised of the images you are showing, of processed cheeseburgers and pizza, they are probably better off without it. Kids should get fed, but it should also be quality food.

Glenn
Williamsburg



In my opinion, the universal school lunch program is a good thing, but it definitely has to be monitored. All children deserve a good meal. If excessive waste starts to take place, then the City of New York should have the ability to modify the program. I do not agree with allocating funds for new police officers. We have enough police on the streets. Some of them work well with the community, but many of them do not. Last week, I saw an NYPD officer on the Upper West Side telling a guy to "Shut the F*ck Up. You're pissing me off".
The city should allocate funds to create after school programs. Too many children hang out aimlessly with their friends after school and get into trouble. Our kids need a positive place to go while parents are still at work. It can change their lives.

Maria
Upper West Side



The agency where we need more workers is the NYC Administration for Children's services. We are way in over our heads and there is no where nearly the amount of workers in our agency to protect all of our city's children.

Nicole
Brooklyn



1. If you want to have more police and use the police that you have now, they must all do mandatory "walking the beat" work, as I feel we need more police presence.
2. School lunches for all public school children seems like a good idea, but I feel that the politicians should eat these lunches every day to see what they taste like and see if they are in fact nutritious.
3. Libraries open six days a week seems a good idea and is necessary for children for their school work.

Gary
Flushing



Food should be provided for those who ask for it, if a family needs the provision it should be provided but only after requested. Giving food away to those who don't need it is a waste and you can SEE that waste. That money should go toward better AFTER school systems.

Ruben



It would be beneficial to hire more police officers with the new budget proposal if they are all trained in the same fashion as the 88th precinct in Clinton Hills, Brooklyn, NY. There is no other precinct that I have encountered that is more charismatic, people friendly, and handle a situation with a respectable poise than the 88th in Brooklyn. I’m am honored to have my neighborhood protected by these officers and if the money allocated to hire more police is put towards training them like the 88th precinct then many communities would be a better place.

Jay
Clinton Hills



Spend the money on infrastructure overhaul. Improve City parks. Provides jobs for teens during summer. Don't add cops, train the ones we have now to be better cops, etc.

Wayne



Mayor DeBlasio wants to do great things, and he's on the right track, however, we need real jobs in this town, and affordable housing. Free lunch for school kids is a great idea, but changing the margin of self interest and wealth entitlement is going to be a monumental undertaking, for his designs.

Michael
Woodside



The lunch program should not having generic food, but yes the program will be great.
The police department makes so much money on over time, yes we can use more,but Not as many as stated. Police do need to increase but not so many. The menu need to change.


Peggy
Harlem



Free school lunch should be available as this is many of our city's childrens only meals for the day. However instead of so much of it getting wasted and thrown out, the food that is untouched should be provided to our city's homeless community.

Nicole
Bay Ridge



Also need to discuss the need of more correction officer. These officers are working 18 hour shifts 4 out of 4 days a week. Sometimes getting suck on triple shifts because we Are short handed.

Wilfrido



Mayor DiBlasio has selected a demagogic, low-class socialite in Bill Bratton, rather than a respected man to be NYPD Commissioner. Real New Yorkers know that Bratton's predecessor, Ray Kelly, was far smarter, fairer, and effective.
As far as the lousy public schools are concerned, what happened to mothers who feed their own kids? It should never be the taxpayers' responsibility to feed school children. But NYC public schools are for everything but learning.

Douglas



The city does not need more cops, if they hire more you will still see the same amount of officers in the street or they take them and put them in the well to do areas like the east side, what's the point. Too much favoritism in the nypd a lot of officers inside doing clerical who prefers not to be in the streets. They'll come up with any excuse to stay inside and they usually get it if their unions protests.

Rob
Bronx



There are a thousand other things hundreds of millions can be used for. I thought Bloomberg instituted a revamping of the school lunch program.

Anthony



It would be beneficial to hire more police officers with the new budget proposal if they are all trained in the same fashion as the 88th precinct in Clinton Hills, Brooklyn, NY. There is no other precinct that I have encountered that is more charismatic, people friendly, and handle a situation with a respectable poise than the 88th in Brooklyn. I’m am honored to have my neighborhood protected by these officers and if the money allocated to hire more police officers is put towards training them like the 88th precinct then many communities would be a better place.

Jameel



I think the city should ban junk food in the schools. The students fill up on Doritos and donuts. If they are hungry enough, they will get a piece of fruit, some protein, etc. but they fill up on nonsense!

Lisa
Brooklyn



Its amazing how correction officers risk their lives everyday working these jail and run on very little sleep. Nycdoc needs to hire more correction officers. Doc is short handed.

Samira



Really? Isn't it about the children? I live in Harlem and unfortunately I've had "hands on" experience regarding NYPD. So I say to you..hungry children or bad cops???

Linda
Harlem



Hi i think school lunch should be for all school children. However they school really take a long and hard look at the school and what is being serve.the lunches taste horrible. There was a pilot program a few months ago where gourmet chief cook the foodfor certain school in Manhattan. They should hire those people back to cook for the kids.my kids complain alot about it.

Joanne



I don't where these schools are that your showing but I have never seen food like that it looks good my poor students eat horrible looking food and the smell disgusting.

Maria

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